A new twist on outdoor theaters

posted by CSWalczak on June 12, 2009 at 3:45 pm

According to the this article from the Associated Press, a loose network of dedicated motion picture exhibitors is springing up, showing movies outdoors in unusual places. Though the equipment is sometimes rather primitive, these enthusiasts are attempting to recreate the drive-in experience.

Think the only way to see a big-screen movie is while slurping a 64-oz. soft drink, eating a $5 candy bar and shushing the wannabe film critic behind you?

That’s not the case anymore, thanks to people like John Young, creator of the West Chester Guerilla Drive-In and part of a loosely knit network of celluloid renegades resurrecting the drive-in for a new age.

“Nowadays, you push a button and a movie appears,” he said. “There’s fun in the inconvenience of having to get off the couch and go somewhere you might not be familiar with, maybe getting rained on, maybe being cold. It makes it an adventure.”

Cinema Treasures Commentary Piece on MobMov

Comments (8)

MPol on June 13, 2009 at 9:52 am

I think there’s something to be said about Copyright Infringement issues, as well as risk of personal injury or worse. At least with drive-in movie theatres, the films are being shown legally. Frankly, at the risk of seeming like an old prude, I don’t think that this sort of movie piracy is a good idea all around. There’s enough piracy of films going on anyway (i. e. downloading it into computers, recordng illegally, etc.) without that latter method of piracy. It’s a matter of wanting something for nothing.

KenLayton on June 13, 2009 at 6:59 pm

Yes, and real drive-in theaters have insurance in case you slip and fall or your car bumps another car.

James on June 14, 2009 at 3:11 am

Shouldn’t this article read “a group of dedicated copyright pirates” instead? As a legal movie exhibitor, I pay my fees to Swank Motion Pictures for my public display each and every time I show a movie outdoors even to a small group of folks. Bringing back the old tradition of outdoor movies in Flatonia, it costs a lot to put on the summer shows, the pay back for me personally is the smiles on the people’s faces when they head home. If everyone would pay their share of the public display fees, then it wouldn’t cost so much for the rest of us who put on these shows legally. After all what are we teaching our kids, is ok to do this, so long as you don’t get caught?

MPol on June 14, 2009 at 5:22 am

It sounds as if this present generation and upcoming generations ARE learning that it’s OK to engage in such piracy as long as no one gets caught. At the risk of sounding like an old prude, it seems that nobody’s willing to do things honestly anymore. Without knowing all the facts, I have a feeling that this kind of piracy definitely has the potential for totally killing off the LEGITIMATE movie business entirely. Your points are well taken, JamesLTX.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 15, 2009 at 2:51 am

I see 0% chance that a few outdoor screenings of old movies are going to have any effect on theatres that show new releases.

James on June 16, 2009 at 4:48 am

So its ok, for a “few” people to not pay the fees associated with showing these “old movies” while the rest of us who legally show the same “old movies” pay the fees.
So these same exhibitors could just as well take some “old money” out of our wallets as well? Instead of breaking the laws we don’t want to abide by, how about we just get rid of the laws and even up the playing field?

I currently don’t show new releases, I pay the public display fees for older movies for my summer movie program, which I don’t charge for, but I still play by the rules and pay the fee.

MPol on June 17, 2009 at 6:41 am

You’ve made some good points that’re well taken, JamesLTX. Thanks.

MPol on June 20, 2009 at 6:27 pm

7: What does your post about the Fort Lauderdale Real Estate have to do with this essay? Just curious, because I see absolutely no relation between the two topics.

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